Ed. (short for Edward) abbreviated with a dot

Lots of guys named Edward are called Ed for short. For that matter, lots of Albert > Al, Frederick > Fred, Joseph > Joe, etc., etc.

But one thing different about Ed is the way some Eds put a dot after it to show that it’s an abbreviation, writing Ed. so that it looks like an abbreviation for Editor instead of a nickname for Edward.

This used to be done years ago (one example was Ed. Fisher who had a long-running morning radio show on WJW-850 radio in Cleveland in the 1960s). I haven’t noticed it being done lately, although I think I noticed Ed. Norton the actor’s name written with the dot.

Q.: Why the dot? Nicknames aren’t written as abbreviations. And why only Ed.? There used to be more odd abbreviations of names used in the 18th century, when words and names often appeared abbreviated. John was abbreviated Jno. on the Declaration of Independence for no reason that I can fathom. But Ed. is the only example I know where the nickname was written like an abbreviation.

I’ve seem Wm. for William. and Chas. for Charles.

I think there’s a difference between an abbreviated full name and a nickname. That’s clear with “Wm.” for William but not as clear with “Ed.” for Edward. It might just be that those Edwards who use Ed. don’t consider “Ed” to be their nickname and are not usually called Ed.

What’s odder is when the make a big deal out of an obvious nickname, like a business card that says Edward (Ed) Smith. If you want one or the other, just put that on the card. Why fuss?

It’s an affectation. Ed. Weinberger, producer of Cheers decided to add the period after he established himself. It was derided.

Remember, according to any style manual, reporters are required to write a person’s name the way that person prefers it. There is no “right” or “wrong,” or even a general rule – just personal preference.

Q.E.D., maybe you didn’t understand my question. It’s one thing to abbreviate a given name in writing. This was done quite often until maybe the early 20th century. But that doesn’t mean using the abbreviated form as a nickname. William doesn’t have his friends call him “Wm.”; they call him Bill. But Ed.'s nickname has the dot—even though it looks like an abbreviation, it is actually a nickname. No other nickname uses the dot, just Ed. You never see nicknames Fred. or Sam. or Will., for example. I was wondering why Ed., and how that got started.

There’s one example I can think of where an abbrevation was converted into a nickname. Chas. used to be the abbrevation for Charles, when names were written abbreaviated. Then in swinging 60s England there was Chas Chandler of Animals and Jimi Hendrix Experience fame. Once he started that, other dudes named Charles began billing themselves as Chas or Chaz, or maybe even Chazz. I wonder, since Jas. was used as the abbreviation for James, there aren’t guys named James using Jazz as a nickname.

RealityChuck, yeah, it’s an affectation for sure, since relatively few Eds used the dot. In Britain, there are a few eccentrics who replace the capital F in surnames with a doubled lowercase ff. For example: ffellowes. I know how this at least got started. It was an orthographic quirk of 15-century Wales, or something historical like that. To continue to use it in the 21st century would IMO be an affectation. I ran a couple of personal names searches on the Library of Congress database and found these examples:
ffarington, ffeilde, ffeinberg, ffennell, ffewell, and (oddly) ffernãdez.